A year of exposure: Body scanners, online privacy, BP oil spill
December 15th, 2010
05:46 PM ET

A year of exposure: Body scanners, online privacy, BP oil spill

Is 2010 the year America was exposed?

That's what The New Republic suggests in its latest issue, whose cover depicts Lady Liberty as she might appear to Transportation Security Administration agents if she were to pass through a body scanner in one of America's airports.

On the body scanner controversy, journalist Jeffrey Rosen writes that "protecting privacy isn’t something that the U.S. government has ever done well," compared with European counterparts, because U.S. privacy offices lack independence and regulatory mettle.

"And, while the Department of Homeland Security’s privacy office has broader legal authorities than most, it nevertheless failed to raise the obvious objections to the body scanners. That suggests the government needs a genuinely independent institution dedicated to protecting Americans’ privacy in order to avoid similar debacles in the future," Rosen writes.

And it's not just body scanners. Changes in Facebook's online privacy policy made users' personal profiles more vulnerable to public viewing, causing us to reexamine our notions of privacy. Google Street Views opened up our homes to anyone with a Web browser. And in corporate America, the Gulf Coast oil spill exposed BP's questionable maintenance practices and apparent inability to control such a spill.

What do you think? Was 2010 a turning point for privacy rights in America? Or just another year of passing tides? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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Filed under: BP • Facebook • Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Technology
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. sburg

    well just think about your freedoms while your paying property taxes on your dogs and tvs and the new fence or storage space u just built. can't have nothing without paying for it in the usa. so much for land of the free

    December 15, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ::::::::: BreakingNewsBlog ::: http://x.co/J9cm

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      but NO newspaper nor TV has STILL said that BP would been able to STOP in the EARLY DAYS of May!!!
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      with THIS simple tool: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-472981
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      December 15, 2010 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • ::::::::: BreakingNewsBlog ::: http://x.co/J9cm

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      post edit: ...would been able to STOP the oil spill in...
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      December 15, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. sburg

    probably the only country who hasn't legalized pot but u can thank the republicans here for that. or the misinformed public here that votes for them.

    December 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. sburg

    country that is run by the rich whether it be the rich people swaying votes and paying off media or the corporations that the government pays to do things they can't legally do.

    December 15, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jeff Frank

    The privacy thing seems so academic these days with electronic this and high tech that. Several years ago just going through a metal detector was a big deal, but "nobody complained" about its ability (which it had none), to identify whether or not you had a doodoo. I could care less if a machine can indentify body parts. What should be the main focus, is whether it can identify non-metallic weapons! The IBM scanner sees my doodoo and maybe her dingdong as an x-ray. Am I concerned that someone might benefit from posting my or her

    December 15, 2010 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jeff Frank

    Blog contd.: Someone might benefit by posting "personal content", which is just plain wrong, on spacebook, –itter, utoob. Yes, I am concerned about someone carrying up thier ying yang. It's public danger.

    December 15, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Sarah

    America is clearly in decline. Another Empire is being laid to rest in front of our very eyes.

    December 15, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Fred Bartkowski

    Rapiscan, Rapiscan, Rapiscan, Rap'escan, R'apeuscan.
    But this is nothing really. Residents of U.s. Believe they are free and have privacy.
    They are not and have none.
    The evolution of the One World Order requires constant observation be accepted as normal.
    Cameras in workplace, streets, stores everywhere now considered normal.
    In fact they keep us safe and secure, feeling warm and fuzzy just like the r a,pe scan.
    Cops have been instructed not to use infrared cameras for improprieties.
    In addition if a satellite can read your licence plate from space why can't we find Bin Laden?

    December 16, 2010 at 3:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. mr. Satisfaction

    because the vehicle plate belongs to real and existing people... Bin who?

    December 16, 2010 at 6:24 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Ancient Texan

    Flying had become a real undesireable chore long before the the new body scanner. Well, a little correctiion; I love flying but detest airports since 9/11. There has to be a better way and Israel seems to do it better.

    December 16, 2010 at 9:02 am | Report abuse | Reply

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